Accept no substitutes

As a new mother and I recently discussed how sleep deprived we can be after those little ones come into the world, it sure brought back memories. She shared that her husband went in to change their baby’s diaper, and the little one didn’t have on just one diaper, but two—a second one she’d put on absent mindedly in her sleep deprived state.

I could sure relate. I didn’t know a person could function with as little sleep as I had after our son was born. And I really didn’t. I was putting the dish towel in the refrigerator and trying to store milk in a kitchen cabinet. It turns out research shows we go through the motions, but we still don’t operate on all cylinders.

A professor at Michigan State University who researches sleep deprivation found there is no substitute for sleep. Caffeine can improve our ability to pay attention, but nothing helped with what is called place keeping errors—a “complex ability that involves following a series of steps in order without skipping or repeating any of them” Something like baking a cake from memory. “You wouldn’t want to forget to add eggs or accidentally add the salt twice.” The article said, “caffeine may help you stay awake . . . but it likely will not help you ace your exam.

Again, as so many of us can testify without having done all the scientific research but simply lived it out, there is no substitute for sleep.

In the spiritual realm there is that for which there is no substitute as well.

We can be a moral person, an ethical person, or we can attempt to be a kind person by our own effort and achieve some degree of success. But we still miss the mark, because we are not a redeemed person. Our sin can only be dealt with through Jesus. And we all have sinned.

Dr. Charles Stanly said, “There is no substitute for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

The apostle Paul wrote, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord . . . not having a righteousness of my own that comes form the law, but that which is through faith in Christ . . . .” (Philippians 3:7-9).

All our works will come to nothing. We can only be redeemed through His work on the cross on our behalf.

When it comes to faith in Jesus, we can embrace an advertising slogan from many years ago, “Accept no substitutes.”

A very good policy.

And all you folks tanking up on caffeine right now—get some sleep. 


Most Viewed This Year